What Is A Power Of Attorney And Do I Need One Or More Than One?
A power of attorney is like an advanced healthcare directive. Instead of appointing an agent who makes health decisions, you’re appointing an agent who can make decisions about virtually everything else in your life—including paying bills, answering mail, dealing with the bank or making decisions about selling or buying your home.
Everyone should have a power of attorney. If you don’t select someone to make decisions for you, your finances could fall into disarray with unpaid bills and unwatched accounts. In the worst case scenario, you might become a conservatee, and the state might come in and make the decisions for you because no one’s there to make your decisions.
A power of attorney can become effective immediately or in the future. I usually create what’s called a springing power of attorney, which means it only springs into action when needed. In other words, if you are incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions, your agent can make financial decisions for you.
Sometimes, I create a Power of Attorney that is effective immediately. There are reasons to do that, but it is something that should be considered carefully. I have created immediate powers of attorney for children of elderly parents, family members of individuals who live abroad and may need a representative in the United States, and some couples who might need help accessing accounts they are entitled to access.
You may or may not want to give your power of attorney to the person at the time you create it. Still, your nominees need to know that they are being given a Power of Attorney, and you need to talk to them about how you want them to take care of your finances. This is true of both advanced healthcare directives and powers of attorney.
What Exactly Is A Special Needs Trust And Who Is This Intended For?
A Special Needs Trust is a trust where assets are being kept for the use of a person with disabilities, who is eligible for government benefits. Since some government benefits have an income and asset limits, a person with a special need is not allowed to have more than a certain amount of money to remain eligible. Money in a properly created Special Needs Trust is not included in the person’s assets to determine eligibility, which means that they can have savings and can have money to supplement their life. This can sometimes be called a supplemental needs trust.
What Are The Benefits Of Special Needs Trusts?
The most obvious benefit of a Special Needs Trust the ability to use the money to enhance the life of the person who is eligible for government benefits because of a disability or other reason. It can make their lives better by providing things that the government does not. You might be able to use it to get a wheelchair-accessible van or other costly equipment or services. It could also be used to take special classes or purchase equipment that would help a person learn a new skill or live more independently.
I think that what a Special Needs Trust can do for a person can be life changing. Having money that still allows them to benefit from the government can mean the difference between living and thriving.
What Is The Process To Create A Special Needs Trust? What Does My Attorney Need From Me? I Assume No One Should Really Be Trying To Do That Type Of Trust Especially On Their Own.
You need to have an attorney to write a Special Needs Trust, and that’s because the language of Special Needs Trust is precise. Special Needs Trusts are not a place to be creative. It’s very precise and exact, and the government looks at them very critically. It would be best to come into the office and talk about the person who might need the trust. After completing a questionnaire, we’ll discuss the details of the individual’s circumstances and proceed from there.
There are two kinds of Special Needs Trusts. There is a third-party Special Needs Trust, which includes funds from a third party. It is usually used by a parent for the benefit of a child, and many times, it’s funded with an inheritance. This is because an inheritance, even a small one, can wreak havoc on a person’s ability to receive benefits. The beneficiary may lose eligibility for government programs because they have a large sum of money they aren’t allowed to keep. It might not last them a lifetime, and they may need to get back onto their program, which is difficult and time consuming.
Some individuals with special needs are also able to create Special Needs Trusts for themselves. There are rules for that, including being under 65 and having a disability defined by social security. I like to talk to my clients about the value of the assets in the trust because they usually require a third party to make decisions and many times that person is a professional.
Many professionals don’t want to do trusts for small amounts of money because the reward does not match the task. However, there are Pooled Trusts, for people who have smaller amounts of money but still want to be able to get their child or their loved one the best life they can.
Creating a Special Needs Trust is very personal, and it is crucial that your attorney spends time with you while filling out paperwork and understanding the process. You’re not going to get the best care unless you have someone who understands you, your situation, and the person who’s disabled.
In addition to Special Needs Trusts, there are different types of accounts that can make it possible for a person with special needs to save money. There are rules about eligibility for everything in this area, and your attorney should know those and be able to make sure that your client fits within the criteria.
For more information on Trust Law In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 570-9809 today.
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